Phyciodes campestris
Field Crescent

Family Description:
Alternate Common Name:
Field Crescentspot.
Note: This species is listed as Phyciodes pratensis by some authors.
Caterpillar: The caterpillar is dark brown to black and marked lengthwise with blackish and cream-colored lines. The body is covered with branching spines.
Adult: The butterfly is small to medium-sized, with a wingspan of 1 to 1 inches. It varies in its appearance, but generally is dark brown to orangish brown on the upperside and marked with yellow and orange spots or squares aligned in patches or rows. The hindwing has a row of orange spots with blackish centers. Underneath, the forewing is orange and marked with patches of yellow, brown and offwhite; the hindwing is yellowish to orange with patches of offwhite, a curved row of small dark spots, and a row of crescent-shaped spots along the outside edge.

This species ranges from central Alaska, south through British Columbia and Alberta, through the western U.S. to southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico. It extends east as far as southeastern Montana, eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska. It can be found throughout much of Idaho.

It utilizes a variety of habitats, including meadows, grasslands, fields, forest openings, and swamps. It tends to be at low to mid-elevations in the Rockies and at high elevations in the northwestern part of its range.


Caterpillar: Caterpillars feed on the leaves of asters (Aster and Machaeranthera spp.).
Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.

The number of generations of caterpillars each growing season varies within its range, with only one in the north and at high elevations, two to three in most of the range, and four in southern California. Caterpillars feed in groups, often in a loose web. Young caterpillars present at the end of the season overwinter in a physiological state called diapause; they emerge in spring to continue feeding and molting, and eventually pupate. Adults generally fly from May through September in most of its range.

Males actively patrol in search of receptive females. Females lay groups of pale green eggs on the undersides of leaves of asters.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank:

G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.

Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies. Second Edition. Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.